Morphology, genome sequence, and structural proteome of type phage p335 from lactococcus lactis

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Lactococcus lactis phage P335 is a virulent type phage for the species that bears its name and belongs to the Siphoviridae family. Morphologically, P335 resembled the L. lactis phages TP901-1 and Tuc2009, except for a shorter tail and a different collar/whisker structure. Its 33,613-bp double-stranded DNA genome had 50 open reading frames. Putative functions were assigned to 29 of them. Unlike other sequenced genomes from lactococcal phages belonging to this species, P335 did not have a lysogeny module. However, it did carry a dUTPase gene, the most conserved gene among this phage species. Comparative genomic analyses revealed a high level of identity between the morphogenesis modules of the phages P335, ul36, TP901-1, and Tuc2009 and two putative prophages of L. lactis SK11. Differences were noted in genes coding for receptor-binding proteins, in agreement with their distinct host ranges. Sixteen structural proteins of phage P335 were identified by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. A 2.8-kb insertion was recognized between the putative genes coding for the activator of late transcription (Alt) and the small terminase subunit (TerS). Four genes within this region were autonomously late transcribed and possibly under the control of Alt. Three of the four deduced proteins had similarities with proteins from Streptococcus pyogenes prophages, suggesting that P335 acquired this module from another phage genome. The genetic diversity of the P335 species indicates that they are exceptional models for studying the modular theory of phage evolution.

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